I don’t love the cold weather but I do love some of the meals I cook during the colder months. The slow cooker will start getting much more of a work out for the next few months. I love slow cooker meals for lots of reasons, the key ones being:
- The taste – the taste of a meal cooked in a slow cooker is significantly enhanced. The longer cooking times allows for greater diffusion of flavours in many recipes.
- The convenience – convenience is the main reason I use the slow cooker. In about 30 minutes or less, I can prepare a meal for the slow cooker and them just let it go. By the time we come in from after school activities at the end of the day it will be ready.
- Budget friendly – as you slow cook the meat, you can get away with using cheaper cuts, but still end up with tender and delicious meat.
I know not all readers have a slow cooker so have put together this guide which shows how you could cook these recipes via a different method.
Tips for using a slow cooker
Using a slow cooker is one of the easiest ways to cook a meal. Follow these tips for success:
- When cutting up ingredients, aim to cut them all in similar sizes so they will cook evenly.
- Avoid lifting the lid on the slow cooker while it is cooking. When you lift the lid steam escapes and this will reduce the temperature of the slow cooker disturbing the cooking process.
- As the slow cooker is using longer lower temperatures liquids don’t reduce, so you may need to thicken the liquid if you like a thicker sauce. This can easily be done by using cornflour or arrowroot flour mixed with water to make a paste, then adding it to the slow cooker 30 minutes before serving.
- If you want to add pasta, rice, dumplings etc you can add them in the last 30 minutes of cooking the the dish. Fresh herbs should be added at the end also.
- If you are converting a traditional casserole into a slow cooker meal, you will need to use less liquid, generally somewhere between 1/2 – 1 cup less.
5 family favourite slow cooker recipes
The below recipes are five family friendly slow cooker recipes on the blog:
Slow cooker turmeric chicken – using fresh spices, this slow cooker dish is easy to make with lovely flavours. It makes a large amount so a great meal to cook to feed many or to freeze half for another night.
Slow cooker chicken tacos – This family friendly slow cooker chicken taco recipe is the perfect make ahead meal on weeknights. It is also gluten free.
Slow cooker pulled pork – This slow cooker pulled pork recipe is so easy to make. It has a slight Asian inspired taste to it and will be a hit with the kids and adults. It makes a large amount so is the perfect meal to make for a large group.
Slow cooker sweet potato curry (vegetarian) – This recipe is in my top 10 of all recipes on the blog! It is delicious, easy to make, vegetarian and gluten free.
Slow cooker honey sesame chicken – a delicious and easy to prepare slow cooker meal, this one can be ready in under two hours. It has a lovely sweet sauce, which will be a hit with all the family.
Want to make feeding the family easier?
To help families kick start their weekly meal prep habit, I have created an online course called Meal Prep Primer! Meal Prep Primer shows you how to effectively plan your time in the kitchen over the weekend, and prep food that will make your week days easier.
To keep on top of feeding the family, many years ago I started spending some time on the weekend, prepping food for the week ahead. Even if it is was just one or two things, the difference this made during the week was huge.
As I was rewarded each week for my efforts in the kitchen on the weekend, I began increasing the food I prepped. And the more weekly meal prep sessions I did, the better I became at it. The better I became at it, the less time it took me to do the sessions and the better we ate – win-win all around!
In my Meal Prep Primer course I will teach you the process I have developed over these years. The course will:
- save you time
- save you money
- save you stress through the week days
- ensure your family eats well
- allow you to enjoy meal time more with the family
For three weeks you will receive:
- A plan – the plan outlines what you will be cooking and when. You can tailor this plan to suit your family’s needs and the time you have available. The plan also has clickable links to all the recipes you need to cook for the weekend.
- A shopping list – as you may tailor the plan to suit your family’s needs, the shopping list is broken down into items per recipe. That way you can easily cross off items you don’t need to buy, but make sure you have all the ingredients for the recipes you do intend to cook.
- The recipes – a PDF of all the recipes you will need to cook for the week.
- Plus there is a detailed video and other resources on the course website and further support emails to keep the habit going after three weeks.
You can read more and sign up for the short course here.